Client Translation Review Tips

It may be called many things – client review, subject matter expert (SME) review, internal review, etc. Let’s talk about the client translation review and what you should keep in mind when you’re planning to set up a review team for your translation projects.

What is a client translation review?

A client review process is when a customer has an internal resource review the translation linguistically. They will look for any industry specific terminology and may also make any preferential changes to the translation at this point.

There are two approaches that you can consider for client reviews.

  1. Establish a terminology database.
  2. Have a reviewer review the full text.

A terminology database can save you time, money, and increase long-term quality through consistent use of key terms your company uses. You have options on how to create a terminology database. You can utilize one provided by the translation provider or create one yourself.

Rather than a full Translation Memory, a terminology database takes into account smaller chunks of text. A Translation Memory operates on the sentence level. For terminology, the focus is on words or phrases. A terminology database lives alongside, and works with the Translation Memory.

Who should participate in a client review?

First of all, it is important that only one person reviews your content. If there are too many people reviewing, there may be unnecessary changes due to different opinions on terminology and language, and it will decrease the efficiency of the project. Another important consideration to keep in mind is that the reviewer should to be a native speaker of the language. If the review is given to someone who is vaguely familiar with the language or took a few classes in high school or college then the results could be a disaster. If multiple reviewers must participate, the reviewer with final authority should review and approve which comments should be considered final to avoid any conflicting markups.

When should the client review start?

A client translation review should happen before you format or publish. We can easily export the file for review into a two column Word file. The reviewer can then use track changes on the translation to indicate any requested changes. For maximum efficiency, it needs to be done at this step. If it is done on the final product then the implementation time of your review doubles – we would need to change the final product and the Translation Memory. If we do the review before the final product then it is half of the work since changes are executed in the translation management system and then the final file is generated.

Where is the review done?

The client translation review is done in a two column Word file. It is important that your work can be exported into a widely used system like Word. If we are translating a more complex file type like XML or InDesign, the review cannot be done in those formats because most users would not know how to access and display that kind of file.

Why conduct a client review?

A client translation review can be beneficial for many reasons. It can increase buy-in from local teams and show a willingness to invest in their market and mission. It also can take a burdensome task off of their list. If they are tasked with translating something on top of their regular job then it can either take quite some time or increase their stress. If it is translated by an agency and simply reviewed by the employee it will reduce their workload and they can focus on their day job. They will still be on the project, but in a more limited capacity and they will be putting the finishing touches on the project rather than doing the heavy lifting. This process also trains your partner linguist team and Translation Memory to store your preferred terminology, making future projects run smoother.

How should client reviews be done?

We have 3 simple recommendations.

  1. The reviewer should be a native speaker of the language they are reviewing.
  2. There is only 1 person doing the review.
  3. Ask the linguist to review the final review.

With a linguist reviewing the client feedback it creates an opportunity to alert the project manager of any feedback that poses a major issue – such as a reviewer changing the original language. This is a crucial part of the feedback loop. All in all, client review can be an easy process. It is very important to follow an appropriate workflow to ensure the most efficient implementation of the review.


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